The ‘trinichellu’ adds a zest to touring the island, a singular Corsican train

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Now, this was one of the wildest trips I ever took! years ago, I took the old(er) version of the ‘micheline’ from Ajaccio to Ile Rousse (north of the island) and will never forget it .. you view scenes from movies of crammed trains, under the scorching sun, within a cacophony of vocal cords and also a general exuberance – this was exactly the vision I had – and experienced too.

Let’s retrace this little trains history ..

It was in 1888 this historical means of transportation was to see its’ start-up, and by 1894, 360 kilometres of railway network were completed, thus rallying Bastia to Ajaccio. But, not without a certain quantity of problems too, for a tunnel of 3916 metres had to be constructed in order to cross the Vizzavona pass, along with the viaduct constructed by Gustave Eiffel (30 metres), above the Vechju. All in all, the whole development lasted around forty years ..

However, the population and the tourists were suddenly able to contemplate the Corsican countryside from an alternative angle, one that had been formerly concealed, and was now in sight for all to admire. The ‘trinichellu’ proposed the most unrivalled sights, at times travelling through the pine trees in the Balagne, or the forests in Vizzavona and at times, following the transhumance paths with adaptability. In the past, it was not uncommon for this little train to make a halt here, there and everywhere, which also added to the unique discovery.

With over 600.000 travellers annually, this little train follows its’ way through thick and thin, often being stopped by stray cattle on the tracks in the middle of winter too! – it defies time and seasons.  train corse Philippe Mirville

As unusual as it may seem too, the Corsican ‘trinichellu’ (which signifies ‘trembling’) stops right beside the sea front, enabling the passengers to fully take in the picturesque surroundings, and the constant invitation from the expansive, blue aqua pura.

It has been said, the process resumes in many ways, the island of Corsica herself – dealing with ethnology, architecture and also geography. Sincerely, it’s worth your time to experience a trip, and since recent times, it has been somewhat modernised, which has its pros and cons admittedly, but, the beauty that awaits you all within/around, is certainly not to be dismissed. I may add, the Corsicans are indeed attached to this particular historical means of transport, with time it has also become very much part of the scenery, where charm and nature lead the way.

Photo credit: Philippe Mirville

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